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Robinson talks DeMatha, Pitt, recruiting Anya

Thanks to class of 2012 point guard James Robinson for doing the interview with us. The 6’3, 195-pound floor general talked to us about recruiting his high school and AAU teammate, class of 2013 center BeeJay Anya, as well as his future at Pittsburgh and his time at DeMatha Catholic High School (Maryland). Read about this and more below.

Why did you commit to Pitt?

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When I was on campus for my unofficial visit I just thought it was the best fit for me. I enjoyed being around [head] coach [JamieDixon and the rest of the staff and especially the players — just their mindset about winning and working hard, that’s just something I really wanted to be apart of.

Why did you commit when you did?

That Saturday after I took my unofficial visit I was riding home in the car with my parents and we just talked a lot about it and Sunday morning I woke up and had a good feeling about it and talked to my family again and I pretty much told them that’s where I want to be.

What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?

Probably just the relationships I got to build with some great coaches. Not just coach Dixon at Pittsburgh but all the coaches that were recruiting me. I was grateful for those great coaches who were looking at me coming into their program and I enjoyed being around them and building those relationships.

What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?

Not being able to visit the schools as much as I would have liked to. With all the rules and regulations you are limited in the time that you spend in getting to know the players and coaches but when I was able to do that stuff I took advantage of it.

What do you like about Pitt that isn’t basketball related?

When I went to Pitt for my unofficial visit, everybody I met that wasn’t a basketball player had the same mind-set. They knew nothing would be given to you and you had to work hard.

Do you know any of the other class of 2012 commits?

Yeah, definitely. I talked to [shooting guard] Chris [Jones] the day after he committed. I talk to [center] Steven Adams regularly over Twitter. We have a pretty good relationship right now that we’re looking to expand on once we get to campus.

What do you think of those guys in terms of their basketball skills?

I think we’re going to gel together well. Steve is obviously a dominant big man and Chris can score the ball from any spot on the court. My job is just to make sure they get the ball where they want it and play tough defense and be an extension of the coach when I’m on the court.

How does going to a big-time program like DeMatha help prepare you for college?

It’s going to help me a lot. The coaching staff and [head] coach [Mike] Jones try to run the DeMatha program as close to a college program as possible. We breakdown film regularly, we work out in the morning and after school. In terms of the effort standpoint, it should be there. Going against guys as talented as those who have come through the DeMatha program should be pretty good practice too.

Are you trying to recruit anyone to come with you?

Right now it’s pretty much just class of 2013 [center] BeeJay Anya. He’s my DeMatha teammate as well as Team Takeover teammate. We have a great relationship so it would be a lot of fun if he came to Pitt. I’m just trying to sell him on the school and the basketball program and how much he would excel here.

What are some of your goals for Pitt?

First, I just want to bring a hardworking mentality so I can fit in with the rest of the guys. I just want to do whatever it takes to win. I want to be a good listener and good learner from the guys who are already there and the coaching staff, especially [assistant] coach [Brandin] Knight, who has played point guard at a high level under coach Dixon.

Are there any particular guys you look forward to playing with at Pitt?

All of them, really. I played against [sophomore power forward] Talib Zanna in high school so it would be fun teaming up with him. Having them opportunity to learn from [junior point guard] Tray Woodall will be great too and with [sophomore small forward] J.J. Moore, as athletic as he is, I can pretty much throw the ball up anywhere near the rim and he’ll go get it.

Are there any guys you look forward to playing against?

I just look at every opponent the same and try my hardest and enjoy the game of basketball. But, it’s going to be fun playing against all my old DeMatha teammates like [class of 2012 small forward] Jerami Grant (Syracuse) although at the end of the day we will be competing against each other.

What has been the coolest part of the recruiting process for you?

Probably getting the Twitter followers up [laughing]. I don’t really tweet too much but when the games come on or something exciting happens at Pitt someone will tweet at me and say they’re looking forward to seeing me in a Pitt jersey next year. I definitely appreciate those guys reaching out to me.

So are you excited that March Madness is finally here?

I’m usually really excited about it but I’m kind of down this year since Pittsburgh isn’t in it. I think it will be motivation for all of us for next year and the year after because we know what we’re capable of doing and we want to get back to that level.

What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you?

I’m kind of a quiet guy, laid back. I like to hang out with my family and friends and play video games, just regular teenage stuff. People probably don’t know how much I like football. I just enjoy watching it. My little brother [Jamal Robinson] is on the DeMatha varsity football team and I just try to support him as much as I can. He started the first few games at Quarterback last year as a sophomore but then he got hurt.


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